Apple, the music industry rest home

If your name's not on the list, you ain't coming in...

Apple, iOS OS, WWDC, Apple Music, iTunes, Tidal, Iovine

Rihanna fans. Wearing masks. Why?

Credit: Tidal

In its quest to provide solace to yet more struggling music industry executives, Apple, says the WSJ, is in talks to buy Tidal.

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Apple already has some big music industry names on its payroll, so perhaps it makes sense for the company to acqui-hire a few more. Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre Trent Reznor, Zane Lowe and all the other former music industry executives and operatives probably want to have a bigger party at the Apple Music backstage bar.

Acquiring Tidal would bring in a whole bunch more big names.

You see, while it’s not an especially profitable service, Tidal is well supported by the industry and artists.

Not only does the music-streaming competitor give artists a huge amount of creative freedom (including allowing them to change tracks once they are released), but leading light, Jay-Z, gave some really big names shares in the company once he took it over.

These shareholders include(d) Arcade Fire, Beyoncé, Calvin Harris, Coldplay, Daft Punk, Deadmau5, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J Cole, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Usher.

This artist friendly status is also why Tidal is able to secure exclusive track releases, such as Kanye West's The Life of Pablo.

Guest list only

That’s got to be interesting to Apple, a company that likes to create close relationships with customers – from the iPod-wielding music fan to the artist playing the music they listen too. Or U2.

Part of the reason for interest: Spotify and Apple are at war. You can tell how intense this is becoming from Spotify’s attempt to get regulators investigating how Apple manages its App Store. Spotify calls Apple’s 30% fee “anti-competitive”.

Spotify built its leading position in music streaming by giving shares in itself to the big music labels. Now in competition, Apple’s response (as evidenced when it acquired Beats) appears to be an attempt to befriend the artists and work with the most visionary music industry types, such as Iovine. A Tidal acquisition would certainly bring in more talents.

Backstage bar

Swimming with the Tidal could ensure the Apple Music Christmas party is going to be a very, very hot ticket.

I think the drive to recruit innovative industry talent is critical to this. Getting inside the industry’s creative heart boosts Apple’s influence, enabling it to explore interesting creative possibilities. It already makes music videos in collaboration with artists, but why stop there? Why not launch TV shows or make on the road movies?

Or launch a high-quality music streaming service?

Musicians often complain they have dedicated their lives to making music sound better. They are sad because they feel much of their art is lost when you listen to compressed sound. They want fans to be able to hear every golden note or whispered background glamour that they spent so much time and love putting together. They want to be heard -- high res music enables this.

Hit machine

That’s even before you consider the potential for original programming or the inevitably planned all-you-can eat music and HD movie streaming service for Apple TV

If the deal comes together, this is one rest home the world’s gonna want to visit.

Signing off with one more thing: Despite the sad loss of MacNN in the last few weeks it is heartening to be able to wish one veteran Apple-focused website a happy birthday, so I hope you can join me in congratulating for twenty years (on July 2) of Mac-focused help

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

Want Apple TV tips? If you want to learn how to get the very best out of your Apple TV, please visit my Apple TV website.

Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when fresh items are published here first on Computerworld.

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